Read Psalm 123
Focus on verse 3
One demonstrates mercy when one has power and authority over a situation yet one holds back on exercising that power. A judge in the court of law, who has the authority and power to hand down a maximum sentence yet reduces it to less than the maximum shows mercy to the accused. Perhaps a better example might be when I scoop a large live spider out of my swimming pool (because I don’t care to swim with spiders) and release it in the vacant lot next to mine rather than stomping on it on the pool deck, I have shown that spider mercy (for the record, I actually did this once though I have no idea why).
In today’s reading the psalmist pleads with the Lord to have mercy upon his people who apparently have been at the receiving end of the scorn and contempt of their enemies. In the grander scheme of things God demonstrated his mercy to us by sending Jesus to bear the consequences of our sin and rebellion toward Him so that we do not have to face the judgment that we deserve.
He continually demonstrates His mercy to us by extending the time that He gives us to come to the point of repentance. That time will at some point expire after which it will be too late. This much I know. I am grateful for the mercy He has shown me and cannot imagine the horror of what it would be like to face the sentence that I know I deserve. I cannot imagine why anyone who understands this would delay for even a minute to humble him or herself by repenting and submitting to God knowing that when we throw ourselves upon His mercy He is willing to grant it to us. Who would knowingly reject such an offer? It would be akin to a convicted felon facing a life sentence going before a judge who says to him, if you will genuinely repent of your crime and humble yourself and submit to be obedient to the law to the best of your ability from now on, I will serve the rest of your sentence and you can walk out of here a free person. The person who rejects God’s offer of eternal life is like the felon who says to that judge, “no thanks, I’d rather rot in prison than submit to you!”
The mercy of God demonstrates to us is that God does not “send” anyone to hell. Rather, He gives each person multiple opportunities to respond to His mercy. Those who unfortunately will end up spending eternity in hell do so entirely by their own choosing. My advice… don’t be one of them.